On April 2nd, the Greenville Women’s Volleyball Team left no doubt on whom was going to walk away with the SLIAC tournament title game versus the Blue Jays of Westminster College. The Lady Panthers were the one seed and the Blue Jays the two seed. Greenville won in straight sets by the scores of 25-17, 25-9, and 25-23. This tournament win marks the sixth time that Greenville has won the tournament.
The whole match was a defensive showcase for the Panthers as they racked up a season-high 10 blocks, and that was the most by a team in the tournament since 2015. After the Panthers and Blue Jays were tied 4-4 in the first set of the day, the Panthers were able to get 5 straight points off various errors from Westminster. The Panthers were able to maintain at least a three-point lead the rest of the first set, and a kill from junior Emily Stahl sealed the first set with a final of 25-17.
The second set was completely dominated by the Lady Panthers as they got a kill from senior Jasmin Smith that would start a tremendous run by the Panthers as they took an early lead in the set by 13-4. The domination did not stop as Greenville looked as dominant as ever, and the Blue Jays could not quit hurting themselves with misplays and errors. Freshman Amanda Hollis closed out the set with a kill by a dominating score of 25-9.
In the third set, the Blue Jays proved that they would not just lay down. Taking an early 6-4 lead in the set, Westminster looked for help from the front row attackers as they were finally starting to shed a couple of blocks from the Greenville girls up front. However, a service error after having a 13-10 lead would give the ball back to the Lady Panthers, and with that mistake and two more attacking errors by Westminster, Greenville was able to tie the set back up. Greenville and Westminster then started to trade points. Westminster took a late lead of 21-20 in the set. A perfectly placed shot by sophomore Kaitlin Murray would tie the game up. Stahl scored a kill on the next point to take a 22-21 lead. A late service error by the Panthers gave the ball right back to the Blue Jays, but back-to-back kills from Hollis put the Panthers one point away from claiming their sixth conference tournament championship. Stahl, who would later be named tournament MVP, put down the last kill for the Panthers, sealing the deal with a 25-23 win in the third and final set.
In an interview with a sophomore member of the team, Dana Defreezer, she said, “I am just really proud of this team after everything going on this season. COVID was obviously an obstacle that not only us, but everyone had to face. We just really believed in each other, and I think that really showed out there on the court all year.”
Stahl would finish the match with a match-high of 11 kills, hitting .400 for the match while also adding four blocks of her own. Smith added eight kills, and Hollis and sophomore Mia Bonacorsi each added six kills a piece as a large contribution.
The Lady Panthers finished the season with an 18-2 (.900) overall record.
Media by Noah Casali.